Witness priest in Kerala nun rape case dead (Lead)
Chandigarh/Thiruvananthap : Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who had given statements against Kerala nun rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Punjab's Hoshiarpur district on Monday, police said.
Kattuthara's family in Kerala suspects foul play.
The Punjab Police said a probe is underway into the 62-year-old priest's death. "Our team has gone to the spot and is investigating the matter," a Dasuya police official said.
Kattuthara was found dead in a room in the St. Mary's Church in Dasuya town, around 180 km from Chandigarh. He was under the Jalandhar diocese which is headed by Mulakkal.
Kattuthara had openly given statements against the Mulakkal after the Kerala nun accused the latter of raping her.
Jose Kattuthara, the brother of the deceased, has complained to the police in Alappuzha in Kerala raising suspicion about the circumstances in which the priest was found dead.
The deceased priest's cousin K.Johnny told the media in Kerala that he got a call from Punjab that Father Kuriakose Kattuthara was not responding to the knocks on his door.
"When they forced open the door, he was found dead," Johnny said, adding that his cousin was not sick. However, he was suffering from lifestyle diseases.
"Ever since he took a position against Bishop Mulakkal, he feared something bad might befall him," said Johnny.
The deceased priest, in some interviews, had already expressed apprehension about his fate after openly supporting the victim nun and speaking against the bishop.
Mulakkal was arrested in September 21 on charges of raping a nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016. He was sent to two-week judicial custody on September 24.
Mulakkal secured bail on October 16 from the Kerala High Court and left for Jalandhar the same day after walking out of the Pala sub-jail near Kottayam.